According to the FCC Chairman and several members of academia, World of Warcraft and other video games are detrimental to college students everywhere.
The controversy started at the University of Minnesota’s Duluth campus, where an academic adviser noted of a frightening trend he was beginning to see. “I accused one of them of coming in loaded from smoking dope, he looked so bad,” said adviser Vince Repesh of a troubled student who came into his office. In reality, the student was up all night playing video games. According to Repesh, the student in question had gone from straight A’s to F’s in many of his classes over the period of a year. “I tell parents during talks, I believe it’s one of the hidden causes for kids to fail that nobody knows about it,” he said.
Mr. Repesh isn’t the only one at the institution who believes gaming is a real issue for today’s student. “These are very, very bright kids, and if you can’t get them back on track, you’ve lost a lot of potential,” said UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin.
The story has now caught the attention of FCC Chairman Deborah Taylor Tate, who views Duluth’s problem as something that is now affecting students throughout the country. "With the explosion of educational resources available online, one might think parents would be 100% pleased with the internet’s role in their children’s lives," said Martin. According to the chairman, surveys from 2006 have shown that 59 percent of parents think the internet has been a totally positive influence on their children. This number is down from 67 percent in 2004.
"You might find it alarming that one of the top reasons for college drop-outs in the U.S. is online gaming addiction - such as World of Warcraft - which is played by 11 million individuals worldwide."
While Warcraft may be the easiest target because of its high number of players, the issue is easily one that applies to any and all online games, which have existed since the mid 1990s for computers and the early part of the decade for consoles.